Don't Breathe (2016)
Critic Consensus: Don't Breathe smartly twists its sturdy premise to offer a satisfyingly tense, chilling addition to the home invasion genre that's all the more effective for its simplicity.
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Critic Reviews for Don't Breathe
The suspense is built as carefully as it is in a good John Carpenter movie; Alvarez uses the camera like a stealth weapon, exploring dark corners and hidden areas of the house with devilish glee.
Panic Room meets Wait Until Dark in this pitiless, uncommonly serviceable horror thriller.
You start out fearing "Don't Breathe," but by the end you're laughing at it - and the humor is not intentional.
It's visually resourceful and honest in how it sets up and delivers on its shocks. There isn't a single false scare.
A home invasion story that is as artfully terrifying as Home Alone was entertainingly hilarious.
Audience Reviews for Don't Breathe
Super, super overhyped. This movie is indeed a rollercoaster ride of excessive, unnecessary plot points that go in the opposite direction literally every 10 minutes. That's not what I would call a "smart and sturdy premise" but more like a obnoxious movie that's sole purpose is to push and pull you around and doesn't really care about the story it's telling. Rottentomatoes gives this 87 percent citing a "smart and sturdy plot". As a super reviewer, I refute that claim and cite examples to prove it's a dumb and shaky plot. 1) The old man is blind right? Ok so that means his hearing must be super sensitive, no? So when 3 loud teenagers jump over his fence with their feet hitting the ground and throwing the backpack over the fence which also hits the ground, repeatedly turn his door knob and shake the cellar doors - he can't hear it? And you might say, oh hey well he was dead asleep! He must be a deep sleeper. Ok, true I will give you that. But what about his dog? Huh? Yeah his super ferocious guard dog. In absolute silence, I don't know any dog that WOULDN'T get up and go to the door if someone was turning the locked door knob and strange people are talking in normal voices right outside the front door. So that is in the very beginning and already I'm like this is the dumbest plot ever. But wait - there's more! 2.) The kids choose this break-in because they know the old man was rewarded $300k for his daughter's death. Like, all right I see that. Then they're like we need to break in and take that money! And that's where I'm like hey, wait a minute. How the fuck do you know there is $300k cash in that house? They don't, but they go in anyway. They don't just think there's money in there, they KNOW there's money in there. They are planning their trips afterwards and how they're splitting up the money and everything. Like really? How can you know? They risk it all to go up in there being loud as fuck searching an old man's house in the morning while he's still there looking for money. Worst burglars ever? Yes. 3) The old man does indeed have $300k in straight up cash lying in a safe. And not multiple safes around the house, but just one safe. Yep $300k in one spot in cash in his house. Apparently this movie was filmed in a time when banks didn't exist and the only way to store your money is old fashioned safe. He has enough sense to make his house into an impenetrable castle, but not enough sense to put his cash in a bank? Yeah, super smart plot there. 4) SPOILER***** So at the very end - yeah I'm about to spoil something, but the movie isn't that great so you won't be too disappointed. At the very end, the guy decides he wants a new kid because his daughter was hit by a drunk driver and killed. So he kidnaps the girl who killed his daughter and impregnates her with his semen not rape more like with a turkey baster yeah. So anyway, he wants a kid soooooo bad he's going to force a baby with some random girl? His reasoning was "she took my daughter from me so she has to give me a daughter." Like, OK, I kind of see that, but that will take 9 months. Adoption - and I fucking know he can afford it - would be somewhat quicker. Why not just kill the girl and seek revenge that way? Or just kidnap the girl and keep her kidnapped. Why does she need to give him a baby? That part was weird and like OK you guys are pushing it a little bit. That went over the edge I think. 5) Not to mention the guy has probably killed multiple people before and never caught even after the police were AT HIS HOUSE investigating the robbery with the news crews there - so yeah, I'm not buying it. And neither should you. Rottentomatoes failed us. I would say this is a solid B movie, but nothing more. It's no A horror flick that Rottentomatoes is trying to pass it off as. I have seen my fair share of bad horror movies and this is definitely on the list. It takes a lot of work to make a good horror movie, and this was not good.
GASP! - My Review of DON'T BREATHE (4 Stars) Since childhood, I've been a huge fan of the home invasion thriller. When I saw such classics as WAIT UNTIL DARK and LADY IN A CAGE, I worried that somebody was going to break in and hold my family hostage. Unlike fantasy-based horror films, home invasions always felt possible. I'm still more scared of a knock on my door in the middle of the night than I am of being possessed by a demon. Since the aforementioned films, other good ones have come along, such as THE STRANGERS, HUSH, and THEM from 2006, but for me, Michael Haneke's FUNNY GAMES remains the definitive statement for this genre. It deconstructed the storytelling while still remaining excruciatingly heart-stopping. Well, 2016, there's still hope for greatness, and it has arrived in the form of DON'T BREATHE. Ok, it has none of the self-awareness or dark, sly humor of FUNNY GAMES, but it more than makes up for it with vivid direction, perfectly pitched performances, and tension that never lets up. While pinging on such films as SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, PANIC ROOM, ALIENS, TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN!, and CUJO (!), director Fede Alvarez (EVIL DEAD reboot) and co-writer Rodo Sayagues have created something unique, a lean thriller with complicated dynamics. After a haunting and mysterious opening shot, it becomes clear right away that you're in good directorial hands. The scene starts very high and wide over Detroit and descends closer and closer to reveal something strange and nefarious. I loved the suspense of the shot, how your mind races trying to figure out what you're seeing, and then when you see it, you don't quite understand what it is. Soon enough we're introduced to three petty thieves, Rocky (Jane Levy), Money (Daniel Zovatto), and Alex (Dylan Minnette) who plan to break into the home of a man who may be stashing a fortune in cash there. The very economical script lays out relationships and motivations rather succinctly and deftly shows how it's possible to empathize with this group despite their moral lapses. Minnette, who has already proven himself to be a fine actor in PRISONERS and LET ME IN, has that rare ability to connect with audiences through his eyes. Levy, who hails from SUBURGATORY, literally kicks ass in this role, carrying most of the action sequences and keeping us constantly guessing if she's a good person or not. Zovatto (IT FOLLOWS, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD), in full Jared Leto PANIC ROOM dreads, does the bad guy well. I won't spoil the big twists in this film, but the one advertised in the trailer, that the owner (Stephan Lang of AVATAR fame) is blind, seems essential to discuss. After the break-in, the trio soon discovers that he's in the house. In one of the most chilling edits in the film, we see Lang suddenly propped up in bed, senses alerted to the intruders. It's one of the most effective cuts in any film I've seen this year. No slouch, Lang's character has the ability to physically and mentally control the situation, trapping the trio inside. Able to smell them or hear them more easily than most, Lang stalks through the house with alarming urgency. His use of body language and facial expressions along with his deep well of anguish makes this one of my favorite performances he's ever given. From here comes one twist after another, escalating violence and constantly shifting loyalties. Things turn surprisingly grotesque with an S/M bent at one point, and I promise you you'll never look at a turkey baster the same way again. This is crackling, visceral suspense, with such tropes as cracked glass, a bigger, scarier basement than the one in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, and a dog that just won't stop growling, all of them somehow transcending their cliches. At the screening I attended, the audience applauded one character's victory over another, and it struck me as a fascinating reaction, considering every character existed in grey areas. I think it's what makes DON'T BREATHE such a fantastic addition to the genre. It doesn't hurt that Alvarez has been gifted with Cinematographer Pedro Luque. This team make such concise framing choices and truly know how to find tension in almost every shot. At the end of the day, this is a genre film, but its sustained tension from first frame to last elevates its status to a cut way above.
Fede Alvarez is a talented director, and the decent work he does bringing this story to the screen compensates for a thin, banal script that lacks enough original twists, interesting characters and even a plot that makes sense when you stop to think about it for a second.
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